Who Do the Orthodox Say the Bishop of Rome Is?

November, in addition to being men’s prostate cancer awareness month (you are growing out your mustache, right?), is also apparently Eastern Orthodoxy month on this blog.

We’ve had some great interactions, and I want to personally thank everyone who has weighed in on the comments of these posts, especially Steven Greydanus (Christianity’s preeminent film reviewer), Perry Robinson, Nick, Isa Almisry, Joe Heschmeyer, Nicholas, Hieromonk Ambrose (who gets the coolest name award, hands-down), Timothy Flanders, John Hogg, and Peter aka PMG.

Orthodoxy’s Position On the Bishop of Rome

Jesus asked the Apostles, “who do you say that I am?” I’d like to ask the same thing of my Orthodox friends. Not because I’m trying to trap you, but because I honestly don’t know.

Who do you say the bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict, is?

Is there an official Orthodox position on the bishop of Rome?

Is he a heretic? A schismatic? Both? An Anti-Christ?

Regarding the Dialogue We’ve Been Having

How often to Orthodox and Catholic laymen get together and hash out our differences, in a respectful and calm way? In my experience, not very. Which is why I’ve enjoyed these posts that have gotten such a positive interaction from people on both sides. My thought is, if we can’t talk about it, we’ll never get anywhere.

Further, I let the comments range all over. That’s the way I roll. Other sites—ones I greatly respect—moderate comments that aren’t focused on the particular topic at hand. That makes the posts and comment threads stay on topic and is quite helpful. But I feel that, especially in this discussion, having a discussion is more important than having a laser-focused one. Let’s just talk and argue and hopefully come out more knowledgeable and respecting of each other afterward.

Big Hat-Tip to Brent Stubbs for thinking of this follow-up to the great discussion we had.

93 thoughts on “Who Do the Orthodox Say the Bishop of Rome Is?”

  1. I’ll take a poke at starting the thread.

    Well, let’s agree on what we apparently agree on; sort of. There is the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) (http://www.scoba.us/).

    I heard it referenced on Fr. Thomas Loya’s “Light of the East” Radio program/podcast. In particular, in June of this year, there was a meeting of The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation (http://www.scoba.us/articles/orthodoxcatholic-80thmeeting.html)

    Quoting from the site: Since its establishment in 1965, the North American Consultation has now issued 25 agreed statements on various topics. All these texts are now available on the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) website at http://www.scoba.us/resources/orthodox-catholic.html and the USCCB website at http://www.usccb.org/seia/orthodox_index.shtml.

    I did put it on the last post but in the whirlwind it may have been missed, but last year they did come out with a jointly signed document: Steps Towards A Reunited Church: A Sketch Of An Orthodox-Catholic Vision For The Future (http://www.scoba.us/articles/towards-a-unified-church.html) which does reference the Papacy, so it is relevant to this discussion.

    I know that it is only the NORTH AMERICAN point of view, but we need to start somewhere.

    And again Devin, THANK YOU for starting this blog. Where indeed would men (and women) of good will meet like this without it.

    Pax,

    Peter/PMG

    1. Just a quick note. SCOBA is now defunct.

      It has been replaced by the North American Epsicopal Assembly, per the decisions of the local Churches.

      1. BTW, in June there was a post titled “The True Cause of Schism,” and in the combox, there were comments by someone named Seraphim, who had some interesting things to say about #3 on your list (Essesnces/Energies Aquinas vs. Palamas).

        I’m not going to distract from the conversation, but if you are interested, just do a wordsearch for the blogpost title. I bought the book he recommended (Anna N. Williams, “The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas”) but as yet have to crack it open.

        Pax.

        1. I got that book recently as well – I cannot wait to read it but it’s probably going to be next year. The (graced) ability to see God is, for Aquinas, the very goal of humankind, so to never arrive would be a cruel joke. On the other hand, the more active view of the East, coupled with the idea of one “place” of the afterlife with varying experiences of God’s energy, seems to be a great way to explain moral virtue. Fun stuff!

  2. I think there are sort of two separate questions here. Who the bishop of Rome is, in the sense of what his current standing is, and who the bishop of Rome is, in the sense of what his historical and/or potential role in the Church could be in a scenario in which he was of the same faith.

    To the first, I would answer that I’m not sure there are many Orthodox who would not say that the bishop of Rome is currently a heretic — he currently believes and teaches things that are not the same as the Orthodox faith. That’s not meant as an insult, but as a truth. You may argue that he’s correct in what he believes (and as a Catholic, you would necessarily believe that) but he certain does not teach the same things we do and is not part of the Orthodox Church.

    If he were Orthodox, and when he was, he would be the first among equals, with the perogatives (presveia) recognized by the councils, including the right to hear appeals.

    In Christ,
    John

    1. John,

      Thanks for your response. There’s also the specific question of who Pope Benedict is. A gifted Christian? A man who loves Jesus? What do you think?

      What do you think is the biggest heresy the pope teaches?

      1. Devin,

        In terms of who Pope Benedict personally is, I would say that he is a heretical bishop who personally seems to be a good man.

        I have a lot of respect for him as a man.

        In terms of the greatest heresy that the pope teaches, I’m not sure that I’m qualified to say which are more important than others, some of the bigger ones are:

        1) The filioque, since it involves our understanding of Trinitarian theology. While there may be a right way to understand it (from the Father, through the Son), unfortunately, not only the word itself but also a heretical understanding of it has been dogmatized in the Roman communion.

        2) Papal issues — Universal jurisdictional authority, infalibility, etc.

        3) The distinction between the essence and the energies of God. This one is a huge one.

        That having been said, I have no animus against Pope Benedict or his communion. I just believe that he’s mistaken.

        In Christ,
        John

        1. I am still young in my learning and understanding of the Eastern Orthodox. So, I have to be honest that your comments are new to me.

          Could you expound on them or point me to a resource which will tell me the Eastern Orthodox point of view on the subjects you mentioned? Specifically #1 filioque (never heard of this one before) & #3 the essence and energies of God.

        1. I asked as a means of broadening the question so as to determine the principle by which the Orthodox say a bishop is a heretic. Other examples would bring to bear your general method for saying Pope Benedict is a heretic.

          1. Well, every bishop in the Roman communion would be presumably heretical, as would every bishop in the Anglican and Lutheran communions.

          2. … is currently being worked out. I’m very optimistic.”

            That’s great news!

            One of the most beautiful, and saddest things I saw was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; all of the various Apostolic religious traditions (Hmmm, no Methodist section; go figure 😀 ), all with their particular sections all cordoned off and rigorously enforced (It’s 3:00 at the Tomb! The Copts worship at the back of the tomb while the Greeks are at the front; all refereed by the fez wearing Muslim Kavas Guards).

            Hopefully, step by step, inch by inch, we can get all of Humpty Dumpty back together again!

          3. John,

            You wrote: “Well, every bishop in the Roman communion would be presumably heretical, as would every bishop in the Anglican and Lutheran communions.”

            This does not surprise me. But I mean someone who is currently an Orthodox bishop who is under investigation. Or is the Roman Bishop the only bishop who has apostolic succession but is a heretic? Or, do the Orthodox deny that PBXVI has valid succession? I know the standard reply is that succession is also correlative to orthodoxy and thus, according to the Orthodox, PBXVI does not have valid succession because his See in Rome is heretical (teaches heresy). Is there another, formerly Orthodox See (according to the Orthodox) that is now heretical? Again, the answer to this question would be helpful at least for a historical note and at best to understand the methodology by which Orthodox determines a See (generally) to be heretical. Since acceptance by the laity is important as well, it would put all those “Orthodox”–bishops and laity–who were Western at the time of the schism in awkward place under an “acceptance theory”.

        2. Any see whose bishop is not in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church, is in heresy. That would include, for instance, the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, the 4 lines of patriarchs the Vatican recognizes in Antioch and the 3 the Vatican recognized in Alexandria, though Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem are not in heresy, as they have Orthodox bishops. Malta, an Apostolic see without an Orthodox bishop, is in heresy, but since it has Orthodox bishops exercising jurisdiction over it (e.g. Met. Gennadios of Venice and All Italy and Malta), that is easily solved.

          1. Isa,

            My tangential point is that it seems a little silly to mention that Malta, which I just read is 94% Catholic, has an Orthodox bishop over it who lives elsewhere. Sort of an elephant in the room there.

            What does the fact that our Churches agree on 95% of the faith mean to you?

          2. “My tangential point is that it seems a little silly to mention that Malta, which I just read is 94% Catholic, has an Orthodox bishop over it who lives elsewhere. Sort of an elephant in the room there.”
            No, Malta is convient because it is an Apostolic See which at present has no Orthodox bishop in it. Your original question ” is there another See currently in heresy” is otherwise hard to answer, as all the other Apostolic sees have an Orthodox bishop in them. Whether the Vatican or for that matter Canterbury etc. has a bishop in any see is a matter of indifference to us. Malta comes closest to your postulated “see currently in heresy.”

          3. “What does the fact that our Churches agree on 95% of the faith mean to you?”
            Not sure of that number: Munificentissimus Deus is not 95% agreed with the offices of the Dormition, for instance, despite what might seem as similarities.

            For sake of argument, let us say it is 95% in common. If it is practices or usage which do not affect dogma, it for intents and purposes is 100% . If the 5% is dogmatic differences, it might as well be 0% in common. A high church Anglican can argue that his episcopate agrees 95% with ours: it still leaves the Archbishop of Canterbury among the laity, if he comes to be received into the Orthodox Church.

            We don’t worry ourselves about “valid but illicit.” Until one comes to the Orthodox Church to be received, whether their baptism or ordination is “valid” doesn’t matter.

            As my own personal thoughts, for instance, the Vatican has a “valid” eucharist, and I will cross myself going past one of its churches, and if walking in a church where it is exposed, I will perform an act of adoration. I would not on my death bed even accept to commune from it. Even if it were valid, Orthodox would not be going to communion. Met. Nicolae Corneanu found that out the hard way.

          4. Isa,

            I’d say Catholic and Orthodox beliefs agree 99%. And the 1% isn’t all dogmatic. Little of it is. The filioque isn’t dogmatic. Pope Benedict happily professed it in the presence of Bartholomew and omitted it.

            Now then, if you and other Orthodox want to continue to make the small differences into something to fall on your sword over, that indeed makes unity impossible. There has to be an attitude that is willing to see the good on the other side and also see the differences for what they are, not magnify them.

  3. First, the official Orthodox answer about the bishop of Rome is that the only bishop in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church with his see at Rome is Bp. Siluan Spam, by statute of the Romanian Patriarchate.

    The only Metropolitan of Italy in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church has his see in Venice, Met. Gennadios, who, by agreement of all the bishops in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church, serves as chairman of the Orthodox Episcopal Conference of Italy and Malta and as the chairman of its executive committee.

    They are serving persuent to canon 2 of Constantinople I: “…the synod of each province will confine itself to the affairs of that particular province, in accordance with the regulations decreed in Nicaea. But the churches of God that are situated in territories belonging to barbarian nations must be administered in accordance with the customary practice of the Fathers.” St. Nicodemus interprets this (around the time the Orthodox jurisdiction of Italy was first being solidified) “As for the churches of God that are situated in the midst of barbarian nations, where there either were not enough bishops to make up a synod, or it was necessary for some scholarly bishop to go there in order to bolster up the Christians in their faith. These churches, I say, ought to be managed in accordance with the prevailing custom of the Fathers. To be more explicit, neighboring and abler bishops ought to go to them, in order to supply what is missing for a local synod. Which, though contrary to Canons, yet as a matter of necessity was allowed by the Council. Read Ap. cc. XXXIV and XXXV, and c. I of the Sixth.”

    As they are not exercising jurisidction persuant to canon 6 of Nicea I, and are suffragans of others (i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Patriarch of Romania, etc.), the only pope in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church is “His Divine Beatitude Theodore II the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, All Egypt and All Africa, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Highpriest of Highpriests, the Thirteenth of the Apostles and Judge of the World/Universe,” who has no jurisdiction in Italy.

    As for the successor of St. Peter, beyond every bishop, in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church, that would be his 170th where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26), “the Most Reverend and Most Holy Father, His Beatitude Ignatius IV Patriarch of Antioch, the Great City of God, of Syria, Lebanon, Arabia, Cilicia, Mesopotamia and all the East; Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Master of Masters, and Thirteenth of the Holy Apostles, our Father and Chief Shepherd.”

    As for your supreme pontiff in the Vatican, Benedict XVI, he is purged of the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church for heresy. As to the nature of his heresy, it may be summed up by the renunciations asked of any of his followers if they wish to confess the Orthodox Faith and be received into Catholic communion:
    “Dost thou renounce the false doctrine that, for the expression of the dogma touching the Procession of the Holy Spirit, the declaration of our Saviour Christ himself: “who proceedeth from the Father”: doth not suffice; and that the addition, of man’s invention: “and from the Son”: is required?”
    “Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that it doth not suffice to confess our Lord Jesus Christ as the head of the Universal Church; and that a man, to wit, the Bishop of Rome, can be the head of Christ’s Body, that is to say, of the whole Church?”
    “Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that the holy Apostles did not receive from our Lord equal spiritual power, but that the holy Apostle Peter was their Prince: And that the Bishop of Rome alone is his successor: And that the Bishops of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch and others are not, equally with the Bishop of Rome, successors of the Apostles?”
    “Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief of those who think that the Pope of Rome is superior to the Ecumenical Councils, and infallible in faith, notwithstanding the fact that several of the Popes have been heretics, and condemned as such by the Councils?”
    “Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief of those who think that the Pope of Rome is superior to the Ecumenical Councils, and infallible in faith, notwithstanding the fact that several of the Popes have been heretics, and condemned as such by the Councils?”
    “Dost thou renounce all the other doctrines of the Western Confession, both old and new, which are contrary to the Word of God, and to the true tradition of the Church, and to the decrees of the seven Ecumenical Councils?”
    Along with the promises:
    “Bishop. Dost thou believe and confess that power hath been given by our Saviour Christ unto the Orthodox-Catholic Church to bind and. to loose: and that whatsoever, by virtue of that power, is bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven?
    Answer. I believe and confess it.
    Bishop. Dost thou believe and confess that the Foundation, Head, and Great High Priest and Chief Shepherd of the Holy OrthodoxCatholic Church is our Lord Jesus Christ; and that Bishops, Pastors and Teachers are appointed by him to rule the Church; and that the Guide and Pilot of this Church is the Holy Spirit?
    Answer. I believe and confess that this Church is the Bride of Christ, and that therein is true salvation, which was in the Ark of Noah at the Flood.
    Bishop. Dost thou promise true obedience, unto thy life’s end, in guidance which is salutary unto the soul, to the Most Holy Synod; to the Most Holy Patriarch, the Equal-of-the-Apostles (or to the Ecclesiastical Authorities of the Autocephalous Provincial Church); and to the Bishop of this Diocese, as the true Pastors appointed by the Holy Spirit; and to the Priests ordained by them?
    Answer. I promise it, with heart unfeigned.”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=fBk9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA456&output=text#c_top

    As to Pope Benedict XVI personally, many of us (including myself, my priest and many in my parish) were members of the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club from way back. His abolishion of his patriarchate of the West was a mistake, especially not coupled with his ealier (pre-election) idea of promoting the local episcopal conferences.

    1. Isa,

      Well, I understood about half of that. Does the phrase “Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church” refer to the Orthodox Church or the Roman Catholic Church? It’s confusing because it says Catholic Church but it seems like it means Orthodox Churches (which I know think they are the catholic Church).

      It all sounds so polemical, so over the top. I mean, really? Are countries with predominant (or once-predominant) Catholic populations considered “barbarian lands” still?

      And the profession of faith, much of that is false dichotomies and polemics as well. I dunno. This reminds me of the Orthodox laity, priests, and bishops calling the Pope the AntiChrist before his visit to Cyprus (which I linked to in the post).

      1. Me thinks he is saying that To be Orthodox is to be Catholic; to not be Orthodox is to not be Catholic.

        Therefore “Roman” Catholics are not Catholics; get it? We call ourselves Catholic, but we are not.

        BTW, isn’t it GREAT that non “Roman Catholic” Catholics are visiting this site? I rarely if ever visit Non-Roman Catholic Catholic blogs. Bravo to all!

        PS where is Heirmonk Ambrose ???

      2. The office of reception of converts would of course be polemical. The convert is of course rejecting one thing to embrace another. Given the question, I wanted something a little more of an official answer than my own thoughts on the nature of what heresies Pope Benedict XVI of the Vatican might be guilty of.

        For “barbarian” read “outside the normal system of things.” When the canon was written, the organization presupposed the context of the Roman Empire: there were no metropolitans in the Sassanid empire, for instance, given that it was not built on cities like Rome was. Right now, it would refer to areas not within the established patrimony of an autocephalous Holy Synod. Poland, for instance, which is overwhelmingly on the Vatican’s side of the issue, is not “barbarian lands” as it has a Holy Synod, its primate commemorated by his autocephalous peers, etc.

        “Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church” again is to use official terminology:one of the major defects of Ravenna was the idea of defining Orthodox communion in terms of communion with Constantinople. That is true only as long as his peers commemorate him in their diptychs. Again, I wanted to give more official, less my own personal views.

        As to alleged false dichonomies etc., they would have to have their own post.

  4. For the Greeks to deny that the Supreme Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and true head of the Church is unbelief in the divine constitution of the Church left to her by Christ her Lord.

    The King appointed a steward with plenary authority over the household, as Sobna was in the old Davidic Kingdom. He designated that man to fulfil an office which is in fact proper to Himself, to be the Rock of the Church, and the head of His Kingdom. The designated steward binds and looses with the King, and stands to the rest of us as supreme pastor of the flock, according to the Lord’s pastoral charge after the Resurrection.

    Pope St. Leo the Great

    “”Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine [Christian] religion . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery”

    “The Russian liturgical books, written in Old Slavonic, are full of such testimonies. Thus, Pope St. Sylvester is called “the divine head of the holy bishops.” Pope St. Leo I. is styled “the successor of St. Peter on the highest throne, the heir of the impregnable rock.” To Pope St. Martin is said: “Thou didst adorn the divine throne of Peter, and, holding the church upright on this rock which can not be shaken, thou didst honor thy name.” Pope St. Leo III. is thus addressed: “Chief pastor of the Church, fill the place of Jesus Christ.” St. Peter is called the sovereign pastor of all the Apostles — “pastyr vladytchnyi vsich Apostolov.”.

    Rev. Reuben Parsons, 1893

    Regarding the Filioque, I am aware of the distinctions that are made, but they are erroneous. The Spirit does proceed eternally from the Father and the Son, not merely according to economy but also according to ontology. That is why He is called the Spirit “of” the Son. St.Cyril was condemned by some wayward men for his views, while the Church refused to accept this condemnation.

    The problem with making the Filioque a heresy is that it would make a great multitude of the Fathers you accept either ignorant of the truth or even heretics. And this includes, even before 431 A.D. not only Latin Fathers like Augustine, Ambrose and Hillary of Poitiers but Cappadocian and Greek Fathers like Cyril of Alexandria, the two Gregorys, Basil and Epiphanius.

    For example, two passages from St.Cyril, “He is the Spirit both of the Father and of the Son, seeing that He is poured forth in a way of essence from Both or in other words, from the Father through the Son.” Worship and Adoration,

    “Since the Holy Spirit when he is in us effects our being conformed to God, and he actually proceeds from the Father and Son, it is abundantly clear that he is of the divine essence” Treasury of the Holy Trinity

    On the contrary, I know of no Doctor who says, “The Spirit proceeds from the Father alone” or to the exclusion of the Son, or something to that effect. Can someone show us such a passage?

    1. Nishant,

      It might be worthwhile if the purpose of this thread was clarified. Is it to clarify how the Orthodox Church views the pope and what we consider Roman heresies to be?

      Or is it to debate and discuss who is right in their theology on those points?

      We can do either, but they are very different things.

      Do you want to know what we teach or do you want to debate theology?

      In Christ,
      John

    2. Nishant-
      “For the Greeks to deny that the Supreme Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and true head of the Church is unbelief in the divine constitution of the Church left to her by Christ her Lord.”
      First off, I am not Greek. Not there is anything wrong with being Greek-in fact, next to Arabic, Greek is my favorite language, and the foundational language of Christianity-but neither I, nor the majority of Orthodox of any age am/were/are Greek.

      As the reference to the constitution of the Church, i.e. ecclesiology, that is what is at dispute now, isn’t it?

      As to the liturgical texts, we, of course, are aware of them. And other, e.g. for Pat. St. Babylas of Antioch, 12th successor of St. Peter
      “By choosing the Apostles’ way of life, thou hast succeeded to their throne. Inspired by God, thou didst find the way to divine contemplation through the practice of virtue. After teaching the Word of Truth without error, thou didst defend the Faith to the very shedding of thy blood, O Hieromartyr Babylas. Entreat the Lord our God to save our souls”
      No one, however, speaks of “a world-wide primacy…a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church” of Pat. St. Babylas’ successors as Patriarch of Antioch, nor that “he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.” Nor do the offices for St. Peter forget St. Paul, and their icons always put them on a level plan of equality.

      Sobna? Do you mean “Shebna”? Odd that that argument does appeal until DeSalles used (created?) it against the Protestants. The Douay-Rheims, translated to directly contradict Protestantism, in particular the Anglican Caessaropapism, oddly knows nothing of this interpretation of Isaiah 22, which ends “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the peg be removed, that was fastened in the sure place: and it shall be broken and shall fall: and that which hung thereon, shall perish, because the Lord hath spoken it.” Seems not the place to hang all your hopes.

      “St.Cyril was condemned by some wayward men for his views, while the Church refused to accept this condemnation.”
      That would be Theodoret of Cyrrhus, a crypto-Nestorian, whom Leo helped restore and Pope Vigilius tried to stop the condemnation of his anti-Cyril writings.

      “On the contrary, I know of no Doctor who says, “The Spirit proceeds from the Father alone””
      The Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council. If you understood Greek, you would understand that. But that maybe should be taken up in another post, if not another thread, as John Hogg suggests.

      1. Well, Isa, by Greek here, for want of a better term, I speak of those in the Greek communion, who are as yet estranged from Catholic orthodoxy.

        The infallibility of Peter in declaring the Faith is a consequence of the indefectibility of the Church. This is an organ of said indefectibility, and it was not for nothing that the Savior Himself linked the two.

        Thus, “We exhort you, honorable brother, that you obediently listen to what has been written by the blessed Pope of the city of Rome, since blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, offers the truth of faith to those who seek. For we, in our zeal for peace and faith, cannot decide questions of faith apart from consent of the Bishop of Rome.”

        George Joyce writes,

        “The words refer evidently to Isaiah 22:22

        And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open.

        In all countries the key is the symbol of authority. Thus, Christ’s words are a promise that He will confer on Peter supreme power to govern the Church. Peter is to be His vicegerent, to rule in His place.

        “And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Further the character and extent of the power thus bestowed are indicated. It is a power to “bind” and to “loose” — words which denote the grant of legislative and judicial authority. And this power is granted in its fullest measure. Whatever Peter binds or looses on earth, his act will receive the Divine ratification.

        The promise made by Christ in Matthew 16:16-19, received its fulfilment after the Resurrection in the scene described in John 21. Here the Lord, when about to leave the earth, places the whole flock — the sheep and the lambs alike — in the charge of the Apostle. The term employed in 21:16, “Be the shepherd [poimaine] of my sheep” indicates that his task is not merely to feed but to rule. It is the same word as is used in Psalm 2:9 (Septuagint): “Thou shalt rule [poimaneis] them with a rod of iron”

  5. I have many questions, but here is one I think is important:
    Popes Saint Stephen, Celestine, Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, Agatho, etc, are all Saints on the Eastern Orthodox calendar. Now each of them made bold “Papist” claims and never backed off. So the question is, if the Papacy is one of the greatest heresies in history, easily the top 5-10, why aren’t these Popes condemned for teaching this?

    We know men have been condemned for teaching only parts of heresies, as well as condemned for less severe, so this cannot be an oversight.

  6. Here is the teaching of the recently canonised Saint Justin (Popovich) of Serbia. He is our greatest theologian of the last century and he was.spiritual father to five of the senior bishops of today’s Serbian Church.

    What he says here, rather strongly, is what the Orthodox are saying in this thread but perhaps more politely.

    “No heresy has ever raised up so radically and so completely against the God-Man Christ and His Church as has the Papacy, with its dogma of the infallible Pope-man. There is no doubt: this dogma is the heresy of heresies.”

    Archimandrite Justin Popovic, “Man and God-Man”, Athens, 1987

    And relative to this are his words about papal ecclesiology:

    “…the Orthodox Church, in its nature and its dogmatically unchanging constitution is episcopal and centered in the bishops. For the bishop and the faithful gathered around him are the expression and manifestation of the Church as the Body of Christ, especially in the Holy Liturgy; the Church is Apostolic and Catholic only by virtue of its bishops, insofar as they are the heads of true ecclesiastical units, the dioceses.

    “At the same time, the other, historically later and variable forms of church organization of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses, patriarchates, pentarchies, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, they may constitute an obstacle in the correct functioning of the conciliary principle if they obstruct and reject the episcopal character and structure of the Church and of the Churches.

    “Here, undoubtedly, is to be found the primary difference between Orthodox
    and Papal ecclesiology.”

    1. This is an important testimony in so far as it: (a) has to be reconciled with the fact the EO venerates Popes Leo, Agatho, etc, who were chief expositors of this mother of all heresies, and (b) the fact other significant EO teachers have not taken the Papacy to be the mother of all heresies, and even held it acceptable to a degree.

      1. “(a) has to be reconciled with the fact the EO venerates Popes Leo, Agatho, etc, who were chief expositors of this mother of all heresies”
        Pope (actually pontiff or archbishop, Rome had not yet taken the title “pope” yet) Leo did insist that he had the authority to, for instance, annull canon 28 of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon:when the Church, including his own suffragans ignored this, he backed down and let the issue die quietly.

        Do not know what specifically you are thinking about in reference to Pope Agatho, who instituted the oath anathematizing Pope Honorius.

        Pope Leo IX seems to be the first one, on the basis of the Donation of Constantine, to break communion because a bishop would not adopt his Ultramontanism. If there are any before, please bring them up.

        1. I don’t believe Leo let the issue die quietly, nor was his annulling of Canon 28 a small detail – it was huge and said the Patriarch of Constantinople usurped and trampled upon Nicaea. That’s the type of authority Catholics claim for the Pope, yet it’s “heresy of heresies” for some (not all) EO.

          As for Pope St Agatho, he used very strong Papal language in his letter to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, which received it with praise.

          1. “That’s the type of authority Catholics claim for the Pope, yet it’s “heresy of heresies” for some (not all) EO.”
            It is heresy for all EO. Whether it is “heresy of heresies” is up for debate: whether it is heretical is not.

            Leo did complain that his directives were being ignored. It went nowhere. But then he was upset that the Council was not convened in Italy as he wanted, and that the Council examined his Tome and then accepted it, rather than accepting it as its own definition (rather than writing their own, as they did) by virtue of his authorship. His legates also undermined his line about “trampling on Nicea” when they raised an objection that at Ephesus II’
            St. Flavian archbishop of Constantinople was not allowed his canonical second place.

            You will have to quote Pope St. Agatho, and explain how it differs from other language used by others (Rome is not by far the only see praised in the Councils), especially given the choice words the Council has for Pope Honorius.

      2. For me there is no problem and no need to reconcile. For example we venerate Saint Augustine of Hippo as a Saint in spite of his erroneous teachings. These are quietly put to one side and ignored, ass did the Council of Orange (?) when it was discussing grace. So too we can “cover the sins of our fathers” on the Roman throne. We can also look on the writings of Leo and Agatho in this area as incipient and not as blameworthy as in later centuries.

        1. Here is what troubles me about this kind of response: it’s not universally accepted within Eastern Orthodoxy, and it’s not consistent with the gravity of the heresy. For example, folks like Perry Robinson and other EO consider St Augustine one of the worst heretics ever – yet he was never condemned by any council and is in fact a saint by some EO standards (such as your own).

          To say we can quietly overlook the “mother of all heresies” Papal comments by Leo and Agatho is inconsistent with truth and history. I’m sure Arius and Nestorius were orthodox on tons of other things, yet their error was enough to warrant condemnation. There was no sweeping that under the rug. When Leo and Agatho are spouting Papal heresy and putting themselves above Councils, either that’s rank heresy or it isn’t. When Popes talk like that, then it becomes a “Lord, Liar, Lunatic” situation.

          The Church trampled upon even semi-arianism and semi-nestorianism, yet it wouldn’t sound the alarm for blatant Papalism? This, to me, is where the EO paint themselves into a corner.

          1. “Here is what troubles me about this kind of response: it’s not universally accepted within Eastern Orthodoxy, and it’s not consistent with the gravity of the heresy. For example, folks like Perry Robinson and other EO consider St Augustine one of the worst heretics ever – yet he was never condemned by any council and is in fact a saint by some EO standards (such as your own).”
            Did Dr. Robinson say that, or are you saying that for him?

            Pat. St. Babylas taught no error, as we hymn him. We do not claim infallibility for him or his see thereby.

            “I’m sure Arius and Nestorius were orthodox on tons of other things, yet their error was enough to warrant condemnation. ”
            Actually no, their heresy pretty much permeated all their teachings. Such is nature of heresy. Ultramontanism, as long as Rome remained in Orthodox communion, was kept in check.

            “The Church trampled upon even semi-arianism and semi-nestorianism, yet it wouldn’t sound the alarm for blatant Papalism? ”
            Funny you should say that: Pat. St. Meletius of Antioch was “deposed” by Rome for semi-Arianism (Macedonianism), and yet the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council were convened under his presidency. Rome eventually came around.

          2. Isa, (re: November 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm)

            Though I don’t recall any specific quotes of Perry saying St. Augustine was a heretic, I sure get this impression in that I’ve seen comments about how he is the originator and/or early propagator of heresies like the Filioque. Other EO I’ve encountered are very blatant in their contempt of Augustine.

            You said: “Ultramontanism, as long as Rome remained in Orthodox communion, was kept in check.”

            This seems subjective and a dubious excuse: heresy was there and allowed to brew but was simply ‘kept in check’?

            You said: “Funny you should say that: Pat. St. Meletius of Antioch was “deposed” by Rome for semi-Arianism (Macedonianism), and yet the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council were convened under his presidency. Rome eventually came around.”

            This is another example of what I’m talking about. What is a Pope doing deposing a Patriarch as early as the Second Ecumenical Council if not refusing to be “kept in check” and instead manifest this great heresy of Papalism? Did the Council say anything about it being an illegal deposing and that the Pope should shut up and don’t dare act like that?

    2. Hey, welcome back. Glad you made it.

      Question, when you say “we,” who is “we?” Everyone in the Orthodox (for a lack of a better expression) Commwealth? Or is is this w/n Serbian Orthodoxy? Would, say ROCOR, just to name one, assent to this designation (canonization) and elevation of theology?

      Many years,

      PMG

    3. This, too, seems over the top. Catholics can affirm the collegiality of the bishops, that they are successors of the Apostles, and so on.

      And papal infallibility is not a huge decree of power. God protects His Church from erring via the universal teaching of the bishops together with the special charism protecting the bishop of Rome from error. So to say that this limited protection from teaching error is the heresy of heresies is a great exaggeration.

      1. “Catholics can affirm the collegiality of the bishops, that they are successors of the Apostles, and so on.”
        According to Vatican I’s relatio on Pastor Aeternus, no, those who hold to PA cannot.

        “And papal infallibility is not a huge decree of power.”
        We do not need to get into that: there is no list of instances nor indication of when it is exercised, casting an aura of infallibility which therefore covers all his actions, and which is codified by Lumen Gentium, where basically the Church is told to act as if he speaks infallibly at all times even if he does not. Take for instance Humanae Vitae. Is it infallible? Doesn’t matter, according to Lumen Gentium. The faithful are to act as if it is. And it is not infallible “via the universal teaching of the bishops”: the Majority Report and Winnipeg Statement prevent that.

        That this mechanism can not only, building on the template set by Ineffibilis Deus, can make not only the Coredemptrix “Fifth Marian” Dogma, but the related quasi-incarnation of the Spirit Immaculata. Not a small thing for us Orthodox. Heresy of heresies? Don’t think about it, though I know its potential is great. We look at things aready under the penumbra.

  7. Where is Peter?

    Pope St. Leo the Great

    “”Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine [Christian] religion . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery”

    And, if we go to Pope Saint Gregeory the Great (died 604 AD)
    we find a quite a correct understanding og who Peter is and where
    Peter is – not only in Rome..

    Pope Gregory the Great teaches that the three Patriarchates which
    existed in his time -Rome, Alexandria and Antioch- all founded by Peter,
    were equal in power and authority and all possessed the Keys.

    Note well what Pope Gregory teaches:

    1. The parts where the Pope speaks of Alexandria and Antioch possessing
    the keys with Rome

    2. The parts where the Pope speaks of the equality of Rome and
    Alexandria and Antioch

    3. The parts where the Pope says that all three of these Sees form one
    See of Peter over which the three bishops preside.

    1. Fr Ambrose,

      You are partially correct. Pope St Leo the Great rebuked the Patriarch of Constantinople for thinking there was equality, particularly such that Constantionple could push itself to second place:

      “And so after the not irreproachable beginning of your [Pat of Const] ordination, after the consecration of the bishop of Antioch, which you [Patriarch of Constantinople] claimed for yourself contrary to the regulations of the canons, I [Pope Leo] grieve, beloved, that you have fallen into this too, that you should try to break down the most sacred constitutions of the Nicene canons: as if this opportunity had expressly offered itself to you for the See of Alexandria to lose its privilege of second place, and the church of Antioch to forego its right to being third in dignity, in order that when these places had been subjected to your jurisdiction, all metropolitan bishops might be deprived of their proper honour. By which unheard of and never before attempted excesses you went so far beyond yourself as to drag into an occasion of self-seeking, and force connivance from that holy Synod which the zeal of our most Christian prince had convened, solely to extinguish heresy and to confirm the Catholic Faith: as if the unlawful wishes of a multitude could not be rejected, and that state of things which was truly ordained by the Holy Spirit in the canon of Nicæa could in any part be overruled by any one. Let no synodal councils flatter themselves upon the size of their assemblies, and let not any number of priests, however much larger, dare either to compare or to prefer themselves to those 318 bishops, seeing that the Synod of Nicæa is hallowed by God with such privilege, that whether by fewer or by more ecclesiastical judgments are supported, whatever is opposed to their authority is utterly destitute of all authority.”(Letter 106)

      Pope Leo says Nicaea Canon 6 puts Rome 1st, Alexandria 2nd, and Antioch 3rd.

      1. Years later another Pope stood all this on its head when he accepted the canon he had formerly rejected and erected the Roman Cathiolic Patriarchate of Constantinople and affirmed it as being in second place to himself.

        1. What is your proof a future Pope overturned Leo?
          And when you say this later Pope “affirmed it as being in second place to himself” (note Canon 28 made it equal to the Pope, not just second place) does that not still admit a Papalist stance?

          It seems none of this gets around the fact the “mother of all heresies” was clearly enunciated by Pope St Leo the Great.

          1. What is your proof a future Pope overturned Leo?

            At the time of the Crusades and the Creation of the Latin Kingdom. But ‘;ll levae an answer to Isa since he has this history at his fingertips.

          2. I’d hope for more specific proof than that. Wasn’t the crusades something that didn’t start until 11th century? If so, then I’d suspect it might be due to Alexandria and Antioch being obliterated by Islamic takeover of them.

          3. “I’d suspect it might be due to Alexandria and Antioch being obliterated by Islamic takeover of them.”
            Obliterated? Alexandria and Antioch are here today, and were much more so then in the days of the Crusaders, about half the population of their Patriarchates were Christian, and majority in Antioch’s were EO. If it had anything to do with Islam and the attrition by it and the Chalcedonian schism, Antioch should have been put before Alexandria, and Cyprus, Georgia, Bulgaria and Serbia put before both.

          4. “…Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s tiara?”
            Worked great for Grand Prince St. Alexander Nevsky and the Church of Rus’. Comparing 1204 and 1454, worked pretty well for the Greeks as well.

        2. “Worked great for Grand Prince St. Alexander Nevsky and the Church of Rus’”

          Wow, I see denial is not just a river in Egypt…

          1. PMG-
            “Wow, I see denial is not just a river in Egypt”
            You can see GP St. Alexander Nevsky’s fruits on the Nile:the high altar of the Coptic Patriarchate over St. Mark’s tomb is a gift from the Church of Russia. In fact, Russia has done a lot for us:the Antiochians regained their Patriarchate back from the Ottoman Phanar by its help.

      2. Nick-
        “Let no synodal councils flatter themselves…”
        LOL. Your Lateran IV (1215) did:
        “Renewing the ancient privileges of the patriarchal sees, we decree, with the approval of this sacred universal synod, that after the Roman church, which through the Lord’s disposition has a primacy of ordinary power over all other churches inasmuch as it is the mother and mistress of all Christ’s faithful, the church of Constantinople shall have the first place, the church of Alexandria the second place, the church of Antioch the third place, and the church of Jerusalem the fourth place, each maintaining its own rank.”
        http://www.legionofmarytidewater.com/faith/ECUM12.HTM#5

        Btw, Pope Innocent III, who “validated” this, “annulled” the Magna Charta.

    2. But you don’t need to go to Pope Gregory the great. Pope Damasus said so long ago.

      “Although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad throughout the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of the churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, Who says: “You are Peter …(Matt 16:18-19).” In addition to this, there is also the companionship of the vessel of election, the most blessed Apostle Paul who, along with Peter in the city of Rome in the time of Caesar Nero, equally consecrated the above-mentioned holy Roman Church to Christ the Lord; and by their own presence and by their venerable triumph, they set it at the forefront over the others of all the cities of the world.

      The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman church, which has neither stain nor blemish, nor anything like that. The second see is that of Alexandria, consecrated on behalf of the blessed Peter by Mark, his disciple and an Evangelist, who was sent to Egypt by the Apostle Peter, where he preached the word of truth and finished his glorious martyrdom. The third see is that of Antioch, which belonged to the most blessed Peter, where first he dwelled before he came to Rome, and where the name “Christians” was first applied, as to a new people.”

      Note well the difference. The Holy Roman Church is at the forefront by divine institution, and it is stainless and without blemish, consecrated by the blessed Apostles and sealed in their blood. The other Petrine sees not so on their own.

      And I’ve read your passages, but again I ask, were the “Latin Fathers like Augustine, Ambrose and Hillary of Poitiers but Cappadocian and Greek Fathers like Cyril of Alexandria, the two Gregorys, Basil and Epiphanius.” all heretics? If there appears to be a difference in what the Fathers say, then above all the need of the hour is for close and careful examination and study of each.

      And that is exactly what happened, first at Lyons then at Florence, which settled the matter after due deliberation and with mature consideration.
      If there were some due objections, that was the time to bring it up.

      They established instead that it is of the Faith that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, as indeed Pope St.Leo the Great had done ever so long ago before Chalcedon.

  8. St Gregory I, Pope of Rome, Epistle XL, writing to Pope Eulogius
    Patriarch of Alexandria.

    Pope Gregory is saying to the Patriarch of Alexandria: Tu es Petrus!

    “Your most sweet Holiness [Eulogius of Alexandria] has spoken
    much in your letter to me about the chair of Saint Peter, Prince
    of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the
    persons of his successors.

    “And indeed I acknowledge myself to be unworthy, not only in the
    dignity of such as preside, but even in the number of such as stand.
    But I gladly accepted all that has been said, in that he has spoken to
    me about Peter’s chair who occupies Peter’s chair. …And to him it is
    said by the voice of the Truth, To thee I will give the keys of the
    kingdom of heaven (Matth. xvi. 19). And again it is said to him, And
    when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (xxii. 32). And once
    more, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Feed my sheep (Joh. xxi.
    17).

    Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the
    principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has
    grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one.

    For he himself [Peter] exalted the See in which he deigned even to
    rest and end the present life [Rome]. He himself adorned the See to
    which he sent his disciple as evangelist [Alexandria]. He himself
    established the See in which, though he was to leave it, he sat for
    seven years [Antioch]. Since then it is the See of one, and one See,
    over which by Divine authority three bishops now preside, whatever
    good I hear of you, this I impute to myself.”

    (Book VII, Epistle XL)

    (Book VII, Epistle XL)

  9. “The Russian liturgical books, written in Old Slavonic, are full of such testimonies. Thus, Pope St. Sylvester is called “the divine head of the holy bishops.” Pope St. Leo I. is styled “the successor of St. Peter on the highest throne, the heir of the impregnable rock.” To Pope St. Martin is said: “Thou didst adorn the divine throne of Peter, and, holding the church upright on this rock which can not be shaken, thou didst honor thy name.” Pope St. Leo III. is thus addressed: “Chief pastor of the Church, fill the place of Jesus Christ.” St. Peter is called the sovereign pastor of all the Apostles — “pastyr vladytchnyi vsich Apostolov.”.

    The liturgical texts and patristic writings use the same exaggerative language about all of the Apostles, and not just Saint Peter. This is simply part of the typical mindset of the Eastern Christians.

    Here are some quotes from St. John Chrysostom which we could present to show that Saint John is in fact the prince of all the Apostles.

    We could deduce the following about Saint John:

    Saint John is:

    1. the pillar of all the Churches

    2. the holder of the Keys

    3. the earthly mouthpiece of the Almighty

    4. infallible

    5. the Rock

    6. supreme pastor, not subject to anyone

    “For the son of thunder, the beloved of Christ, the pillar of the Churches throughout the world, who holds the keys of heaven, who drank the cup of Christ, and was baptized with His baptism, who lay upon his Master’s bosom with much confidence, this man comes forward to us now…. By this Apostle stand the powers from above, marveling at the beauty of his soul, and his understanding, and the bloom of that virtue by which he drew unto him Christ Himself, and obtained the grace of the Spirit. For he hath made ready his soul, as some well-fashioned and jeweled lyre with strings of gold, and yielded it for the utterance of something great and sublime to the Spirit”

    ~St. John Chrysostom, First Homily on the Gospel of St. John

    “Were John about to converse with us, and to say to us words of his own, we needs must describe his family, his country, and his education. But since it is not he, but God by him, that speaks to mankind, it seems to me superfluous and distracting to enquire into these matters. And yet even thus it is not superfluous, but even very necessary. For when you have learned who he was, and from whence, who his parents, and what his character, and then hear his voice and all his heavenly wisdom, then you shall know right well that these (doctrines) belong not to him, but to the Divine power stirring his soul…. Not so this fisherman; for all he saith is infallible; and standing as it were upon a rock, he never shifts his ground. For since he has been thought worthy to be in the most secret places, and has the Lord of all speaking within him, he is subject to nothing that is human”

    ~St. John Chrysostom, Second Homily on the Gospel of St. John

    1. Chrysostom’s statements praising other Apostles do not negate his ones toward the bishop of Rome. Further, we do not rely on one Father alone to make claims about the papacy, but on many Fathers, councils, letters, etc.

      It’s understandable that the Orthodox want to downplay all these, but there are so many that they can’t all be dismissed as hyperbole or misunderstandings.

      1. “Chrysostom’s statements praising other Apostles do not negate his ones toward the bishop of Rome.”

        Just puts them in context, as does the fact that he received ordination whom Rome had judged as deposed, i.e. St. Meletius.

        “It’s understandable that the Orthodox want to downplay all these, but there are so many that they can’t all be dismissed as hyperbole or misunderstandings.”
        The problem is that they are removed from context. Similar things are said about other Apostles, other sees, not just St. Peter and Rome.

  10. On the contrary, I know of no Doctor who says, “The Spirit proceeds from the Father alone” or to the exclusion of the Son, or something to that effect. Can someone show us such a passage?

    Saint John of Damascus (d.749) says:

    “We say that the Holy Spirit is from the Father, and we name Him the spirit of the Father; but we in no wise say that the Holy Spirit is from the Son, yet we name Him the Spirit of the Son.”

    Therefore the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son….

    ~ De Fide Orth. i

    1. On the contrary, I know of no Doctor who says, “The Spirit proceeds from the Father alone” or to the exclusion of the Son, or something to that effect. Can someone show us such a passage?

      St. Gregory of Nazianzus: “. . . all that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality.” So The Son cannot be the cause of the Spirit.

      St John Damascene: We speak of “. . . the Holy Spirit of God the Father, as proceeding from Him, who is also said to be of the Son, as through Him [i.e., the Son] manifest and bestowed on the creation, but not as taking His existence from Him”
      ~”Sabbat.” 4:21-23

      and : “. . . the Word is a real offspring, and therefore Son; and the Spirit is a real procession and emanation from the Father, of the Son but not from the Son, as breath from a mouth, proclaiming God the Word”
      ~ “Trisagion” 28:40-43

  11. Question, when you say “we,” who is “we?”

    Looked back at my messages but not sure which ‘we’ you have in mind?

    Everyone in the Orthodox (for a lack of a better expression) Commwealth?

    Try ‘Church.’ 🙂

    Or is is this w/n Serbian Orthodoxy? Would, say ROCOR, just to name one, assent to this designation (canonization) and elevation of theology?

    Each Local Church, Russia, Greece, Jerusalem,etc., makes its own determination about entering a hallowed man or woman in the Canon of Saints. They notify the other Local Churches and they include his name in their own Calendars. So the answer is yes. Saint Justin is accepted as a Saint by all the Churches. The Greeks adore him so much they are already calling him Saint Justin the New -to distinguish him from Saint Justin the Philosopher.

  12. Yeah, sorry, my bad.

    The word was “our” not “we”

    He is “our” greatest theologian of the last century and he was.spiritual father to five of the senior bishops of today’s Serbian Church

  13. (note Canon 28 made it equal to the Pope, not just second place)

    Not so!

    Canon xxviij: Following in every detail all the decrees of the holy Fathers and knowing about the canon, just read, of the one hundred and fifty bishops dearly beloved of God, gathered together under Theodosius the Great, emperor of pious memory in the imperial city of Constantinople, New Rome, we ourselves have also decreed and voted the same things about the prerogatives of the very holy Church of this same Constantinople, New Rome. The Fathers in fact have correctly attributed the prerogatives (which belong) to the see of the most ancient Rome because it was the imperial city. And thus moved by the same reasoning, the one hundred and fifty bishops beloved of God have accorded equal prerogatives to the very holy see of New Rome, justly considering that the city that is honored by the imperial power and the senate and enjoying (within the civil order) the prerogatives equal to those of Rome, the most ancient imperial city, ought to be as elevated as Old Rome in the affairs of the Church, being in the second place after it. Consequently, the metropolitans and they alone of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace, as well as the bishops among the barbarians of the aforementioned dioceses, are to be ordained by the previously mentioned very holy see of the very holy Church of Constantinople; that is, each metropolitan of the above-mentioned dioceses is to ordain the bishops of the province along with the fellow bishops of that province as has been provided for in the divine canons. As for the metropolitans of the previously mentioned dioceses, they are to be ordained, as has already been said, by the archbishop of Constantinople, after harmonious elections have taken place according to custom and after the archbishop has been notified.

  14. If the doctrine of the Papacy is a heresy, it is a heresy against the person of Christ–since, according to the Orthodox–it is an invention that directly supplants or undermines the Headship of our Lord. If this is the case, how can the Orthodox–who claim that the first 7 Councils dealt with all heresies in some way or another–seek a remedy for this “novelty”? Said in another way, do the Orthodox hold that there has never been another council of the same par as the first seven, and if so, how is the heresy of the papacy (on their view) different in kind from the heresies of the first seven centuries? If it is not or only different in degree, in what degree and/or do they expect a full council called to address it (the heresy of the papacy)?

    Through Our BVM,

    Brent

    1. Brent,

      This is an excellent point. The weakness of claiming that heresies ended in 787, so no new ecumenical councils have been needed is, at best, an odd claim to make. New heresies have arisen, serious ones, not the least of which is (in the Orthodox eyes) the papal primacy. But others have as well, and there’s no way they could know serious heresies would end by that date. It’s almost a dispensational idea.

      Further, claiming that “Catholic” heresies after 1014 are ignorable since his name was struck also doesn’t make much sense. The 800 lb gorilla in the room is the Catholic Church, which is three or four times the size of Orthodoxy and covers the world. Acting as if Catholic teachings don’t matter after 1014 (ignoring also the brief reunions of the 13th and 15th centuries) is unthinkable.

      The Orthodox claim “we could hold an ecumenical council if we wanted one, we just don’t want to.” This begins to ring quite hollow. The past 1300 years have provided many reasons for needing an ecumenical council, which the Catholic Church alone has done. As you pointed out, the secular attack alone is destroying our culture and eroding Christians away from their faith, no matter Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.

      So far, I have seen the Orthodox interlocutors here concede almost nothing. Nothing weak about Orthodoxy. Reminds me of various Protestants I have encountered over the years who act similarly. I am always wary of someone who sees nothing true or beautiful or good about another Christian Church or community.

      1. This response makes me suspect that you haven’t actually been reading the Orthodox responses.

        We have held several councils since AD 787 which are of world-wide authority for all Orthodox Christians, which are considered by many to be ecumenical. Sometimes, the same people will speak of seven councils and of nine in different contexts, depending on what the criteria are.

        What is the importance of the word “ecumenical”? The Church has never ceased holding councils to deal with issues that arrive.

        1. John,

          I’ve read the comments, and I understand that the Orthodox consider some of their own councils to be, perhaps, “really important,” but do not make the claim they are ecumenical. You say some call them ecumenical and others don’t. Again, the lack of ability in the Orthodox to definitively decide something, or know how to, in this case, whether a council is ecumenical or not. It’s not just a word; it really matters, and there’s been great need for ecumenical councils over the past 1300 years.

          What is beginning to frustrate me, though, is the intransigence of the Orthodox interlocutors here. Nothing is conceded. Every molehill becomes a mountain. The Orthodox interpretation of history is _the_ interpretation, as if no other can be admitted or are plausible. I desire unity and want to dialogue with people who desire it as well, and not just in an offhand way but who are willing to leave biases aside and see what each of us can do to work toward it.

          The ecumenical council question is a weakness of Orthodoxy, even if no Orthodox here admit it (and even if they repudiate +Kallistos Ware for conceding it). That’s fine. It doesn’t mean Orthodoxy doesn’t have other arguments in its favor or strong points or much truth, but the lack of any concession demonstrates to me an unwillingness to budge on anything, big or small.

          1. Devin-
            “I’ve read the comments, and I understand that the Orthodox consider some of their own councils to be, perhaps, “really important,” but do not make the claim they are ecumenical. You say some call them ecumenical and others don’t. Again, the lack of ability in the Orthodox to definitively decide something, or know how to, in this case, whether a council is ecumenical or not. It’s not just a word; it really matters, and there’s been great need for ecumenical councils over the past 1300 years.”
            Ex cathedra is a word that Pastor Aeternus says really matters. Yet we are told that there is no need to list the “infallible papal pronouncements.” In fact, I’m not sure that there is an official list of your councils-there is the problem of Constance supposedly only being half valid (only after the issuance of Haec Sancta Synodus and the resignation of Gregory XII, one of the claimants to the papacy), and the revisionist nullification of Siena, the seperation of Florence from Basel, etc.

            It is not that the Orthodox cannot definitely decide-we have on the Seven Councils, for instance-we just don’t see the need to do so at every opportunity. No Orthodox I know denies the Assumption, for instance, but none I know supports making it a dogma on penalty of anathema either.

      2. ” The weakness of claiming that heresies ended in 787, so no new ecumenical councils have been needed is, at best, an odd claim to make. New heresies have arisen, serious ones, not the least of which is (in the Orthodox eyes) the papal primacy.”
        Which caused your need for “new ecumenical councils”:Lateran I to solve your invesiture problem and “anti-pope” Gregory VIII; Laterna II to “solve” the “anti-pope” Anacletus II; Lateran III to sort out the mess of two popes and two more “anti-popes” (plus a cathar crusade); Lateran IV to institutionalize the imposition of Ultramontanism on the Orthodox by the Crusaders and Lyon I to maintain the imposition; Lyon II, where nations were the represented elements providing a forum for the Emperor of the Romans put Caesaropapism in action and drag as many Orthodox bishops to submt as he could; Vienne to mark the move of the papacy to Avignon and into the control of the French king to promote the interests of France; Constance, where national blocks of bishops had to solve the problem of making three supreme pontiffs into one pope and witnessed the collapse of the Patriarchate of the West; Siena, called in accord with the decree of Constance, but nullified by Florence to reassert papal supremacy over concilliarism-that is after it broke off from the council of Basel and elected another pope to oppose the concilliarist pope Felix V-and to enforce it over the East; Trent, to salvage the papal primacy from the collapse of its patriarchate from the collapse of the West; Vatican I to issue Pastor Aeternus.

        We still wonder what Vatican II was intended to do. Described often as a “teaching council,” we have no such category among Ecumenical Councils-except to teach heretics a lesson.

        Yes, the Patriarchate of the West has spent a lot of time on the papacy, especially in sorting out its claimants. Since our invovlement with the issue ended with the Council of Constantinople IV in 879, which confirmed the communion of Rome with the rest of us, dealing with the issue of the filioque and claims of papal supremacy, we were not, except when the Emperor tried to drag us in, involved with any of these schisms in the West.

        Unlike the Ecumenical Councils, which defined “us” and “them,” C IV was an agreement amongst us. When Rome broke it at the orders of the Emperor Henry in 1014, Rome was struck from the diptychs as C IV called for, and when Leo IX demanded that he be put back into the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church on the basis of the Donation of Constantine, the Churches merely stayed with C IV and moved on. No need for restatement, although it did come, for instance, in the Council of Constantinople which called the signers of Florence to task, and the various Synods and Councils in response of the various like “unions.”

        “Further, claiming that “Catholic” heresies after 1014 are ignorable since his name was struck also doesn’t make much sense. The 800 lb gorilla in the room is the Catholic Church, which is three or four times the size of Orthodoxy and covers the world.”
        1014-1492 the following of the Vatican and those in Orthodox communion were more or less evenly matched. It is only with the French, Spanish, Portuguese and empires (and their Inquisition) that the Vatican got the edge, and that took some time:losses to the Protestants in the collapse of the Patriarchate of West had to be made up first.
        “Fear not little flock….enter through the narrow gate.” We don’t play the number game. If we did, we would be bogged down with the 72 heresies of Islam.

        “Acting as if Catholic teachings don’t matter after 1014 (ignoring also the brief reunions of the 13th and 15th centuries) is unthinkable.”
        There was no “brief reunion.” Despite the claims of Caesaropapism, the Emperor doesn’t get to write the diptychs.
        When your Reformation and Counter-Reformation broke out, both sides tried appealing to us in their arguments with their rivals. We don’t have a dog in that fight. In Russia, both would ask us “do you believe in transsubstantion,” to which we replied “what is transsubstantion?” It is not that you have different answers, you have different questions which, having not puzzled us, we have no reason to engage in idle curiosity in their “solution.”

        “The Orthodox claim “we could hold an ecumenical council if we wanted one, we just don’t want to.” This begins to ring quite hollow. The past 1300 years have provided many reasons for needing an ecumenical council, which the Catholic Church alone has done. ”
        The Vatican was the one with the problem, which it doesn’t seem to have solved.
        We had a council in Russia in 1666 which caused (the “Old Believer” schism) problems rather than solved any. It was a mistake.
        Other than that, we held the Council of Constantinople V, the Council of Iasi, the Synod of Jerusalem, and other Pan-Orthodox assemblies. If there was a need for an Ecumenical Council, we could have convened it as we convened any of these. Just because others feel we need one doesn’t mean we see it that way: how much did Vatican II solve compared to the damage done in its name?

        “So far, I have seen the Orthodox interlocutors here concede almost nothing. Nothing weak about Orthodoxy. Reminds me of various Protestants I have encountered over the years who act similarly. I am always wary of someone who sees nothing true or beautiful or good about another Christian Church or community.”
        I personally like the Angelus (I don’t know if that counts, as the Western Rite Orthodox practice it) amongst other things, but we were not asked that question. We were simply asked about the standing of the Vatican’s bishop of Rome. As I’ve said, many of us were members of the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club from way back. That doesn’t change his lack of standing in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church.

  15. “how can the Orthodox–who claim that the first 7 Councils dealt with all heresies in some way or another–seek a remedy for this “novelty”?”
    No need to seek a remedy for it anymore than we have to seek one for sola scriptura, the Act of Supremacy etc. The pope of Rome was stricken from the diptychs for the filioque around 1014. Anything he (or the archbishop of Canterbury who followed him, or anyone else after 1014 in communion with him) did, believed or taught thereafter he did outside of the Church, and therefore not of our direct concern. The Standing Synod of 1450 to conmend Florence, the various synods to condemn the various “unions,” more than adequately deal with the issue.

    1. Isa,

      I understand the stock answer. How would you define “more than adequately deal with the issue”? That seems to have a wide range of possible meanings. I would agree that the first 7 councils more than adequately addressed the theological concerns they intended to address in lieu of the nature of the promulgations. How do the various synodal pronouncements “more than adequately deal with the issue”? For whom?

      “did, believed or taught thereafter he did outside of the Church, and therefore not of our direct concern.

      This idea is a microcosm why Orthodoxy, in my view, does not have the pastoral prerogative of Our Lord (Luke 15, 1 John 4:20). It is the Holy Father (Pope St. Pius X) who–almost at the same time your venerable Russian patriarch was calling the “Pope-man” the “heresy of heresies”–was calling out modernism as the “heresy of heresies”–the true destroyer of the modern world. It is what Our Lady–the Immaculate Conception–warned against to the children in Fatima.

      Our Lady, pray for us that we may be one as your Son and the Father are One. Amen.

      1. “How would you define “more than adequately deal with the issue”?”
        That there is no question that their bishops are purged/barred from the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church, with all that that entails. That was put into practice, for instance when Met. Nicolae Corneanu communed at a “sui juris” church of the Vatican’s.

        “For whom?”
        For us in communion with the bishops in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church. It makes no difference, or sense, for us, for instance, to get involved with a reconciliation between the Vatican and the Lutherans. It does not involve us.

        “This idea is a microcosm why Orthodoxy, in my view, does not have the pastoral prerogative of Our Lord (Luke 15, 1 John 4:20). ”
        LOL. Was it this “pastoral prerogative” that launched the Crusades? Not only in the Middle East, but New Rome, Southern France, Bohemia, the Baltic etc…?

        “It is the Holy Father (Pope St. Pius X) who–almost at the same time your venerable Russian patriarch was calling the “Pope-man” the “heresy of heresies”–was calling out modernism as the “heresy of heresies””
        Pius X died in 1914. He was elected in 1903 because Emperor Franz Joseph vetoed the favorite of the conclave. The last Russian Patriarch, Adrian, reposed in 1700. The next one was not elected until 1917, St. Tikhon. Since there was therefore no
        Russian Patriarch during Pius’ entire pontificate, you will have to be more specific of what you are speaking of.

        “I would agree that the first 7 councils more than adequately addressed the theological concerns they intended to address in lieu of the nature of the promulgations.”

        I am not sure I know what you mean here.

        1. [Moderator note: Brent replied below (now deleted) but intended it here]

          1. Did not know we were laughing out loud. I find that comment counterproductive. When someone is not making a joke on purpose, LOL is no more than grandstanding.

          2. Not sure the relevance of the Crusades to your comment about having no concern for the reunion of all those who love Christ.

          3. So I am to understand “adaquately deal with” as there is an active pastoral function to correct it?

          4. I should have written Serbia and within the century. Those two details amended and my comment is in tack. Apologies.

          5. I meant that the canons of the councils have more dogmatic value because of the grace therein than the witness of The Fathers that generally witnesses Holy Tradition

          Peace,
          Brent

  16. This is an excellent point. The weakness of claiming that heresies ended in 787, so no new ecumenical councils have been needed is, at best, an odd claim to make. New heresies have arisen, serious ones, not the least of which is (in the Orthodox eyes) the papal primacy

    It’s external to us. It doesn’t corrupt us or subvert our faith and hope of salvation.

    *IF* the Church of Rome had not decided to leave us, then there is no doubt that there would have been the need for a major Council to deal with the doctrines unacceptable to the rest of the Church. But Rome chose not to remain with us. She manufactured 13 quite ludicrous accusations against us in Cardinal Humbert’s Bull of Excommunication. Then she withdrew into isolation and thus obviated the necessity of a Council to preserve the purity and integrity of the Church. Had she chosen otherwise, had there been a Council, we might still be in communion today.

    1. Fr. Ambrose,

      This is more of the same. “It’s all the Catholics fault!” No, it’s not. Much pride existed on both sides. You and Isa seem unable to concede this or any point, however well-attested.

      The claim that all important heresies ended at 787 AD has overwhelming evidence against it.

      I’ll be closing comments soon, since it seems to me (and from reading Isa’s comments over at OrthodoxChristianity.net forums) that this discussion will not make fruitful progress toward unity.

  17. Brent-
    “1. Did not know we were laughing out loud. I find that comment counterproductive. When someone is not making a joke on purpose, LOL is no more than grandstanding.”
    Does this look familiar? “This idea is a microcosm why Orthodoxy, in my view, does not have the pastoral prerogative of Our Lord.”

    “2. Not sure the relevance of the Crusades to your comment about having no concern for the reunion of all those who love Christ.”
    We are aware of previous attempts at “reunion.”

    “3. So I am to understand “adaquately deal with” as there is an active pastoral function to correct it?”
    Yes: apologetics, polemics, economia and akribeia.

    “4. 4. I should have written Serbia and within the century. Those two details amended and my comment is in tack. Apologies”
    There was no Patriarch of Serbia during that time either. Somewhere here I think Fr. Ambrose posted something from St. Justin Popovich. Perhaps he is who you are thinking of. Only a theologian Archmandrite, he nonetheless had a profound influence on the Church and Hiearchy of Serbia, ROCOR, Czechoslovakia etc. Oxford educated (his PhD dissertation was rejected though, for his criticism of rationalism, the Vatican, etc.), he lived the last 3 decades of his life under constant communist surveillance, which failed to diminish his influence on the educated classes and the intellectuals. Unlike the non expedit of the “prisoner of the Vatican,” which in the end only helped the rise of Mussolini.

    “5. I meant that the canons of the councils have more dogmatic value because of the grace therein than the witness of The Fathers that generally witnesses Holy Tradition.”
    There isn’t any division between them. The Councils’ value is because of their immediacy to the consensus, but the Council’s themselves single out certain Fathers, e.g. Pope St. Cyril of Alexandria.

    But to make a comparison as to recapitulate: the Vatican may have created the Anglican use personal ordinate, but it did not rewrite or annul Apostolicae Curae (hence Ad Tuendam Fidem).

    1. 1. “This idea is a microcosm why Orthodoxy, in my view, does not have the pastoral prerogative of Our Lord.”

      That is a statement in response to your statement. LOL is what children put in their telephone.

      2. Yes

      5. No, not true. This makes Church history almost impossible and the Protestant case of it more compelling.

  18. Full text of the 1054 Excommunication
    http://www.acad.carleton.edu/curricular/MARS/Schism.pdf

    Here are the accusations in the Excommunication by Cardinal Humbert and Frederic of Lorraine, Papal Exchequer at the time and the future Pope Stephen IX or X. Pope Stephen did nothing to annul the Excommunication so presumably he approved. What would have slightly surprised them is that while they had aimed the Excommunication only at the Patriarch, his secretary and all those who agreed with them, it happened that the entire Catholic Church of the East agreed with the Patriarch and rejected the Pope. Hundreds of bishops and thousands of parishes refused to accept the Excommunication. There is no knowledge of even one bishop or one priest in the East remaining loyal to Rome and the Pontiff.

    1. they [the Greeks] sell the gift of God
    2. they castrate their guests
    3. they rebaptize those already baptized in the name
    of the holy Trinity, and especially Latins
    4. they claim that with the exception of the Greek Church,
    the Church of Christ and baptism has perished from the world
    5. they allow and defend the carnal marriages of the ministers
    of the sacred altar
    6. they say that the law of Moses is accursed
    7. they cut off the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son
    8. they state that leave is ensouled (animatum)
    9. they preserve the carnal cleanness of the Jews to such an
    extent that they refuse to baptize dying babies before
    eight days after birth
    10. they refuse to communicate with pregnant or menstruating
    women and they forbid them to be baptized if they are pagan
    11. they grow the hair on their head and beards, and they
    will not receive in communion those who tonsure their hair and
    shave their beards following the decreed practice (institutio)
    of the Roman Church.

    1. “it happened that the entire Catholic Church of the East agreed with the Patriarch and rejected the Pope”

      Yes, that was what made his schism so serious, but there was a good reason for it.

      Adrian Fortescue writes,

      “So we arrive at the essential consideration in this question. The Eastern Schism was not a movement arising in all the East; it was not a quarrel between two large bodies; it was essentially the rebellion of one see, Constantinople, which by the emperor’s favour had already acquired such influence that it was able unhappily to drag the other patriarchs into schism with it.

      We have already seen that the suffragans of the patriarchs would naturally follow their chiefs. If then Constantinople had stood alone her schism would have mattered comparatively little. What made the situation so serious was that the rest of the East eventually sided with her. That followed from her all too successful assumption of the place of chief see in the East. So the advance of Constantinople was doubly the cause of the great schism. It brought her into conflict with Rome and made the Byzantine patriarch almost inevitably the enemy of the pope; at the same time it gave him such a position that his enmity meant that of all the East.

      This being so, we must remember how entirely unwarrantable, novel, and uncanonical the advance of Constantinople was. The see was not Apostolic, had no glorious traditions, no reason whatever for its usurpation of the first place in the East, but an accident of secular politics.

      This quarrel, too, need no more have produced a permanent state of schism than the excommunication of any other contumacious bishop. The real tragedy is that gradually all the other Eastern patriarchs took sides with Caerularius, obeyed him by striking the pope’s name from their diptychs, and chose of their own accord to share his schism. At first they do not seem to have wanted to do so. John III of Antioch certainly refused to go into schism at Caerularius’s bidding. But, eventually, the habit they had acquired of looking to Constantinople for orders proved too strong. The emperor (not Constantine IX, but his successor) was on the side of his patriarch and they had learned too well to consider the emperor as their over-lord in spiritual matters too. Again, it was the usurped authority of Constantinople, the Erastianism of the East that turned a personal quarrel into a great schism. We see, too, how well Photius’s idea of calling Latins heretics had been learned. Caerularius had a list, a longer and even more futile one, of such accusations. His points were different from those of Photius; he had forgotten the Filioque, and had discovered a new heresy in our use of azyme bread. But the actual accusations mattered little at any time, the idea that had been found so useful was that of declaring that we are impossible because we are heretics. It was offensive and it gave the schismatical leaders the chance of assuming a most effective pose, as defenders of the true Faith.”

      1. Nishant-
        “John III of Antioch certainly refused to go into schism at Caerularius’s bidding. But, eventually, the habit they had acquired of looking to Constantinople for orders proved too strong. The emperor (not Constantine IX, but his successor) was on the side of his patriarch and they had learned too well to consider the emperor as their over-lord in spiritual matters too. Again, it was the usurped authority of Constantinople, the Erastianism of the East that turned a personal quarrel into a great schism. ”
        If the East was as Erastian as Fortescue claimed, we would have been in submission to the Vatican after Lyons II. And Pat. John’s successor Pat. John would have submitted to the Vatican when the Crusaders took Antioch. Nor did he have the Emperor of the Romans in Constantinople as his overlord, so he was not “their over-lord” in secular matters either.

        btw, on Fortescue: read his predictions about the institution of the patriarchate, and and compare with what actually happened within the decade after he wrote them.
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07428a.htm

  19. Hieromonk Ambrose and Isa,

    Thank you for your contributions and effort you’ve put into your responses here. I appreciate the time you’ve taken and your desire for the truth, which you believe is found in its fullness in Eastern Orthodoxy.

    That said, as I’ve mentioned in a few previous comments, your overall stance is one of intransigence. I have yet to hear you concede anything, even the smallest points, or recognize the truth and goodness that is found in Catholicism (whose beliefs are so close to your own). This attitude, I will be frank, is ultimately unhelpful to achieving unity in the truth that Christ called us too, and I say that, even if Orthodoxy is the true Church and Catholicism a schism from it.

    Even if you are right and we are in the wrong, this attitude of making every small issue into a huge one, of acting as if history can only be read in one way (pro-Orthodox), and of failing to recognize the good of the Catholic Church, will get you nowhere. It may impress some Protestants into becoming Orthodox, but it won’t lead to the healing of the schism with the Catholic Church, which as I said earlier, represents an entity larger by many-fold than all of Orthodoxy combined.

    To be honest, I think this attitude, much like the ones represented by the Orthodox in Cyprus and elsewhere clamoring that the pope is the AntiChrist, is going the way of the dodo bird. Why? Because Orthodox and Catholics are actually meeting each other now. Mixing together. The people who designed this blog’s banner are Orthodox, which whom I have a very good relationship. We’ve forged a friendship that transcends our Churches’ differences, and that good will is what will overcome, by God’s grace, the schism. The old prejudices are dying, and the way forward is one of balanced examination of the evidence, respect and appreciation of each other’s Churches, and above all a humble desire to do what is necessary to reach union in the truth.

    I say this to encourage you to examine your own attitudes toward Catholicism and prayerfully consider whether they could be improved. Maybe this will offend you. I don’t intend it to. If it does, please forgive me.

    May Christ unite us in Him.

    God bless,
    Devin

  20. Nishant-
    “Well, Isa, by Greek here, for want of a better term, I speak of those in the Greek communion, who are as yet estranged from Catholic orthodoxy.”
    There is no such thing as a “Greek communion”-the Greek Church had a Synod on that in 1872, condemning Phyletism.
    There in no want of a better term:”the communion of the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church.” I understand that the Vatican’s redefinition of “Catholic”-the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council were joined by nor in communion with the bishop of Rome when they wrote “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,” hence submission to him could not be what they meant-prevents you from using it. “Orthodox” does not mean “in communion with the head of the Greek Church in Constantinople, whatever he teaches.” Such misunderstanding lays at your sides perplexity over Lyons and Florence, perplexity as recent as the meeting at Ravenna a few years back reiterated.

    “Thus, “We exhort you, honorable brother, that you obediently listen to what has been written by the blessed Pope of the city of Rome, since blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, offers the truth of faith to those who seek. For we, in our zeal for peace and faith, cannot decide questions of faith apart from consent of the Bishop of Rome.””
    And yet the Fathers at Constantinople I did, not being in communion with nor in obedience to Rome when they set their seal upon the Orthodox Creed of the Catholic Church. In fact at Chalcedon-the letter you quote from is Peter Chrysologos of Ravenna, councelor to Pope St. Leo, to the heretic Eutyches-the Fathers did not, as Pope St. Leo wanted, just accept his Tome, but examined it for Orthodoxy, and then wrote their own definition of the Catholic Faith. Chalcedon and its associated documentation is not devoid of references to St. Peter in his own see of Antioch.

    “George Joyce writes”
    Who?

    As I stated, the Douai-Rheims Bible knows nothing of this eisogesis, which, given its purpose and agenda, would seem it would pass up such a proof-text.

    “The promise made by Christ in Matthew 16:16-19, received its fulfilment after the Resurrection in the scene described in John 21. Here the Lord, when about to leave the earth, places the whole flock — the sheep and the lambs alike — in the charge of the Apostle.”
    The Apostle is being restored for denying the Lord, the incident which takes up most references to St. Peter in the NT. As to the eisogesis of Matthew (the Gospel of St. Peter’s see of Antioch; Rome’s Gospel of St. Mark says nothing), I take an example from the Life of Shenouti (whose writings were the examplar of Coptic literature, but his chief claim to fame was cracking his staff over Nestorius’ head at the Council of Ephesus) by his disciple Besa, which dates not only before the schism of East-West, and the Schism of Chalcedon, but nearly the Schism of Ephesus. “One day,” Besa says, “our father Shenoute and our Lord Jesus were sitting down talking together” (a very common occurance according to the Vita) and the Bishop of Shmin came wishing to meet the abbot. When Shenoute sent word that he was too busy to come to the bishop, the bishop got angry and threatened to excommunicate him for disobedience. “The servant went to our father [Shenouti] and said to him what the bishop had told him. But my father smiled graciously with laughter and said: “See what this man of flesh and blood has said! Behold, here sitting with me is he who created heaven and earth! I will not go while I am with him.” But the Savior said to my father: “O Shenoute, arise and go out to the bishop, lest he excommunicate you. Otherwise, I cannot let you enter [heaven] because of the covenant I made with Peter, saying ‘What you will bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you will loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’ [Matthew 16:19]. When my father heard these words of the Savior, he arose, went out to the bishop and greeted him.” Now Shmin is just a town in southern Egypt, and the bishop there just a suffragan of Alexandria. So it would seem to be odd if the Vatican’s interpretation of Matthew 16:19 were the ancient one why this would be applied to a bishop far from Rome, in a land where St. Peter never himself founded any Church. But it makes perfect sense from the Orthodox interpretation of Matthew 16:19 (the Gospel associated with Antioch, btw, and not with Rome, i.e. Mark), and indeed, according to “the Catholic Encyclopedia,” the overwhelming consensus of the Fathers.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08631b.htm

  21. Gentlemen,

    I’m closing the comments here. Thank you for your interactions. Please prayerfully consider how we can heal this schism, and do self-introspection about whether our attitudes are an obstacle to unity in the truth.

    God bless,
    Devin

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